Today was the first day we had visitors other than family members at our small apartment to visit mama and child. My wife, bless her heart, is the type of woman that doesn’t like to clean until people decide to come over. She knows she’s lucky she has me because I rummage through our small two-bedroom each and every day tidying up here and there because I lived messy as a bachelor but can’t stand to be messy with more than just me in the house.
Fifteen minutes to go time she sat in her chair breast feeding (little man just started having regular bowel movements, which, oddly enough, has been the talk of the day), nodding on and off until I asked her, “Hey, hon, what time are Mandy and Mandy (because there were two) coming over?” In a glossy daze she looked at me, eyes tired, body weak, hair effortlessly out of sync, and responded “3. Why?”
What I learned about being a father:
Baby is the most important person in our life and now the most famous amongst friends and family. My family and I live in Wisconsin where my wife was born. Her family and friends are right here, mine far away by two-and-one half states. The daily visits from in-laws come and go without worry, but friends, such a different story. At 3PM my beloved’s buddies joined the fray of our existence without my knowledge of time or length of stay, and in less then 15 minutes my house went from complete disarray to presentable. I moved with gracious ease from room to room picking up left over clothes and tossed to the side blankets that covered furniture and floorboards. My wife squeezed from her breast what she could, changed and dressed child while sparing time to straighten her hair.
We were on fire.
When Mandy1 arrived our place was presentable enough that it didn’t take time to straighten out the rest as her and mama ogled over child and relived the birth and our time in the hospital (hot topic, still?), even leaving me a moment to walk the dog (we have one dog and one cat in our tiny two). I was satisfied with the job we did, though my first instinct was that it didn’t matter what our apartment looked like, clean, messy, out of order or pretty. What I learned as a father that I should have realized from being a husband is that no matter the state of our existence mama must always have the place neat and tidy for company. When Mandy2 arrived our you never would have guessed that a new baby had been born or that five entities inhabited our miniature domain.
What I think I know:
What I think I know is that being here over the course of the past week has enabled me to do the things for mama and child that support the definition of family. I didn’t realize how important my stay from work would be, but with mama working so hard to get baby healthy and be mama I have barely noticed the impact on the home that I have made. Today it was different, and now I worry about when I have to go back to work because raising any child is hard enough in itself, but newborn allows for very limited time to take care of not only yourself but the place that you live.
I thought today that being here has been the most important about being daddy. I am able to remind mama of the other things that need to get done, like setting doctor appointments, getting groceries, feeding the dog and cat and all the other things that it takes to run a home. I think that running a home is much like a business, you’ve got to plan ahead and know your schedule for each day and make the necessary changes to be successful, and today I began taking notes because I know mama will need an idea of what else needs to be done so she doesn’t go mad.
Being daddy has given me more purpose than ever, and being here has made me realize how much mama and I need each other. Today she saved face in front of her friends, though I know neither of them would have cared about her looks or the look of the apartment, but it was important to her, to mama, and that’s what matters most. Mandy2 also brought over her two young girls, June and Lucy. The ladies wanted to talk about breast feeding and birthing, but the girls wanted to play with the dog and cat and all of baby’s toys. Being daddy I knew my place, so I entertained the girls for their two hour visit and it was these two hours that solidified my reasoning for being here, for my wife, and being daddy to my son. Plus, it was the first time I’ve played with actual toys in nearly 20 years…awesome